Wondering how to bid for cleaning contracts when the world is changing as fast as it is? Don’t miss these expert tips.
Figuring out how to bid for cleaning contracts is one of the most challenging parts of running a commercial cleaning business. You so rarely know how many companies you’re competing against or what kind of low pricing or discounting they offer. It can be incredibly difficult now that the entire world is different than it was at the beginning of the decade.
Yes, a global pandemic does change how the world operates. But when it comes to bidding on contracts, there’s still a lot that has not changed. Customers always want quality work at a fair price. Like before, you’ll have customers you love working with and some that maybe you don’t love working with. You still have to schedule and plan and get supplies.
And, yes, some things are different. Customers are asking more questions. They expect you to be an expert on contagions. You need to schedule your teams differently to maintain stable groups and distance. Your cleaning tasks take longer or require multiple passes.
All of this plays a part in relearning how to bid for cleaning contracts not just in the wake of an international crisis, but in the future. SARS-CoV-2 isn’t the only virus in town. There’s still the common cold, the seasonal flu, and an outbreak of mumps or measles is not unheard of. The way you bid for contracts now can help you in the years to come.
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Opening things up
Before you get into the “bid” part of your bid, make it clear how much value you bring to the job. Open the proposal with a summary of your experience and qualifications, even using bullet points to highlight things:
- We bring 10 years of experience
- Certified in COVID-19 disinfection and safety through the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) or other knowledgeable industry groups
- Everyone on our team wears appropriate PPE at all times
- We regularly review and follow CDC guidelines
- The only commercial cleaner in the metro area to offer same-day emergency clean up services
- LEED-compliant with Green Building certification through ISSA
- State-of-the-art janitorial equipment
Don’t overwhelm your audience, but don’t be afraid to tout your expertise and share how much they get by hiring you. Now onto the bid.
How to bid for cleaning contracts: What’s still the same
There are a few things that will always be helpful in making bids.
1. Use software. The first thing you want to do in recalibrating how to bid for cleaning contracts is to use janitorial software that includes bidding. Obviously, we’d love it if you use Janitorial Manager, but in any case, using software makes it easier for you to adjust things, look at different scenarios, and give your clients a more accurate bid.
2. Understand what you’re bidding on. You also want to know exactly what you’re bidding on. If a government agency or other large facility puts out a call for bids, be sure to read through everything. You don’t want to overcommit yourself or take on a job that prevents you from pursuing other contracts. Some of these contracts may require background checks or certain skills or certifications. They can certainly be lucrative and stable contracts, so they’re usually worth bidding on, but make sure you know what you’re getting into.
3. Understand what the client expects. This is slightly different than understanding the contract. Many clients want “a clean office,” or they want you to “mop the floors and dust and that sort of stuff.” You’ll need to investigate this a little. Explain your questions in a way that makes it clear you want to help the client get exactly what they want. A janitorial price list can help with this, and it might be a great way to upsell some additional services the client hasn’t considered, like changing HVAC filters if that’s something you offer.
4. Find out why they’re looking for a cleaner. You can learn a lot here. The last people did a poor job or didn’t show up on time, or they weren’t friendly, or they were too expensive. These are all clues into what this client is looking for – even if they don’t know it.
How to bid for cleaning contracts: What’s new
5. Consider your personnel. This is where things get a little tricky with some of the updated protocols and staffing decisions. Gone are the days when you can send a huge crew into an office building and be done in a couple of hours. You likely have fewer people working longer hours at any given facility. That’s not necessarily good or bad, but it could very well change your overall ability to take on more clients.
6. Consider your costs. Your supply cost could be drastically different. You may be using more expensive products, paying extra for expedited shipping because of supply shortages, or just using more of what you have. All that extra attention to high-contact surfaces, like door handles and light switches, takes additional product and time. You need to account for that. In some cases, this could add another 25% or more to your time and supplies. There’s also the PPE that’s now part of your budget.
7. Be transparent. This might be a new addition in figuring out how to bid for cleaning contracts in a new world. The rates you charge have to increase. You’re doing more work and more detailed work. You’re tracking everything, and the entire team has gained expert knowledge about infectious diseases. It’s okay to share with a client why your rates are what they are. They know you need to pay your team, buy supplies, and so forth. It’s a lot easier to justify the expense when they know where that money is going – or, more importantly, what they’re getting for their money.
You won’t win every cleaning contract, but there’s plenty of work to go around. Don’t let a few losses scare you into lowering your price to an unsustainable level. Charge what you’re worth and know that the right clients will recognize that and will pay you.
Streamline project management, schedules, client communications, job monitoring, and so much more with Janitorial Manager. Schedule a free demo with us to see all that we can do for you!